EU says UK must make substantial movement in Brexit trade talks

EU is prepared for worst-case scenario of no deal with UK, Germany’s EU affairs minister says

Britain must make substantive movement in trade talks with the European Union if it wants a post-Brexit deal, Germany said Tuesday, amid warnings that negotiations were at a critical stage.

German EU affairs minister Michael Roth said the bloc was still working hard for a deal but added it was ready to trade from 2021 without an agreement that would avoid tariffs or quotas.

"We are at a very critical stage in the negotiations and we are extremely under pressure. Time is running out," Mr Roth said as the EU held Brexit talks in Luxembourg.

"That's why we expect substantial progress by our friends in the United Kingdom in key areas: in particular on governance, 'level playing field' and fisheries." But Mr Roth also warned that a no-deal scenario would be the worst case situation for both sides.

The EU-UK negotiation aims to reach a new partnership agreement on everything from trade to transport and nuclear co-operation from January 1 next year, when Britain’s post-Brexit transition period finishes.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament in London there was still room for a deal to be hammered out.

"The scope and the prospects for a deal are there,” he said.

"I'm hopeful that we can close the gap, but ultimately it will require the same goodwill, the same pragmatism, the same flexibility on the EU side, that the United Kingdom and this Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) have shown.”